Manolan wrong and committed an election offence if he had threatened Tok Batins but otherwise if he merely wanted to point out that it was unacceptable for Tok Batins to receive their salaries from Federal Government and yet continue to be local UMNO heads

PKR Senator Bob Monolan Mohd has kicked up a controversy with his statement in Pos Betau, Jelai yesterday which had been interpreted as a warning to Orang Asli village chiefs (Tok Batin) that their salaries and posts are at stake if they do not support Pakatan Harapan in the Cameron Highlands by-election.

If Monolan had threatened Tok Batins, then he would have committed an election offence which is actionable under the law, but otherwise, if he had merely wanted to point out that that it was unacceptable for Tok Batins to receive their salaries from the Federal Government and continue to be local UMNO heads.

The “uproar” is understandable for as Bersatu strategist Dr Rais Hussin wrote, Monalan’s statement “reeks of the politics of old … give me what I want and I will give you what you want” which the New Malaysia of Pakatan Harapan had sworn to uproot and eradicate.

If so, as Rais said, Manolan has “crossed the line” and must be reprimanded and repudiated.

PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, though in India, had immediately demanded clarification from Manolan, stressing that there is no coercion in a democracy, while Manolan had swiftly denied that he had threatened the Tok

Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, also gave the assurance in Brinchang this morning that the Orang Asli tok batin (village chiefs) will continue receiving their salaries, stressing that there will be no intimidation against them, and that there should be no threat, no coercion and no intimidation in the Cameron Highlands by-election.

What struck me when I heard the audio recording that Malaysiakini had provided was the rounds of applause from the floor (six or seven rounds) when Manolan stressed that the Tok Batins who were local UMNO heads should choose whether they wanted to continue as Tok Batins and receive salaries from Putrajaya or local UMNO heads.

I checked with DAP leaders, namely the MP for Raub and Deputy Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, the MP for Bentong, Wong Tak, Sabah Senator Adrian Lasimbang and Pahang State Assembly woman Young Syefura who were at the session on what actually happened, and they confirmed that there was no threats to the Tok Batins for not voting for Pakatan Harapan.

Pakatan Harapan will not copy the UMNO/Barisan Nasional old politics of threats and corruption, and we will not hesitate to repudiate and condemn any politics of threats or corruption occurring under the roof of Pakatan Harapan.

This should be a given as far as the Cameron Highlands by-election is concerned, which is being held as the election of MIC Vice President C. Sivarraajh as MP for Cameron Highlands last May was declared null and void by the election court because of money politics and corrupt election practices.

During the 14th General Election last May, Tok Batins were required to deliver Orang Asli votes for Barisan Nasional from their respective kampongs, which was a clear violation and abuse of the democratic process.

This is clearly spelt out in the judgment of the election court judge, Justice Azizah binti Haji Nawawi who named the Pahang Mentri Besar, Dato’ Wan Rosdy who is State Assemblyman for Jelai, and Sivarraajh as being involved in corrupt electoral practices involving Tok Batins.

For instance, on 6th May 2018, Wan Rosdy and Sivarraajh visited Pos Lenjang using a helicopter and gave to the Batins approximately RM25,000 to be distributed to all voters in the respective villages, apart from the payment of RM200 to each Batin.

The Cameron Highlands election petition was adjourned three times for Wan Rosdy to testify and deny these allegations, but he never turned up. Can Wan Rosdy explain why?

Isn’t it true that UMNO did not allow MIC to appeal against the election court judgment so that all the corrupt electoral practices of Wan Rosdy would not attract greater publicity?

In the circumstances, is the BN candidate, Ramli Mohd Nor prepared to make the battle against corruption – whether during the electoral process like vote-buying or governance of the country like the 1MDB scandal – one of the foremost issues of the Cameron Highlands by-election?

May be Ramli can start the process by condemning the monstrous 1MBD corruption and money-laundering scandal and denouncing the Najib premiership for the national infamy, ignominy and betrayal for Malaysia being condemned by the world as a global kleptocracy!

Is Ramli aware of a conspiracy by the present UMNO leadership to use his candidature to get Orang Asli endorsement for the Najib kleptocracy, in particular the 1MDB scandal and the many 1MDB-like scandals in Felda, Felcra, MARA and Tabung Haji?

(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Ringlet, Cameron Highlands on Saturday, 12th January 2019)

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